President’s Day — Not for Everyone

It’s President’s Day, formally celebrated on two days as Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. When Martin Luther King got his own birthday holiday we rolled President’s into one. For the record I want to say it is not a holiday to celebrate all President’s. Many don’t deserve a holiday every year. I thought that we should have one holiday called Great Leaders Day and then we could celebrate everyone who actually was great. Washington, Lincoln and King would all be included, but you did not have to win an election to make the list.
Unless a stoke or some other dramatic brain transformation happens, I do not see 45 making the list of great leaders day. I got to thinking about fictional presidents I wish he would emulate since he loves T.V. ratings so much. Michael Douglas in “The American President” might be one 45 would like to copy. He is attractive and has a beautiful wife, things 45 admires.
Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” is another President that 45 might be attracted to. I am worried 45 is going to be more like Leslie Nielsen in “Scary Movie 3 & 4,” or Randy Quaid in the forgettable “Mail to the Chief.” The thing that scares me the most is that no movie, no matter how absurd would ever write a script even close to the craziness of the last four weeks.
On this President’s day I morn the loss of the really great Presidents we have had. I hope that the future holds more people who might make the Great Leaders list. We certainly still need them.


It’s Supposed to Be Hermitting Season

February should be snowy and cold and a time to hunker down inside your house with a fire and your loved ones. This weekend of beautiful 72 degree sunny days is ruining my hibernation. Actually, it is just making me feel guilty for hibernating.
Russ and I basically stayed home all weekend except for venturing out this afternoon for a movie, which is a form of hibernation. In our defense we had yesterday blocked off in case Carter’s basketball team made it to states and we’d have to go to Charlotte. When that didn’t happen I did not fill the time with other activities. Russ, who spent last week in New York, Boston and Washington was thrilled to have a down time weekend. I felt a little anti-social as we so enjoyed our alone time so much. Carter was here, but she was off with friends or studying. Russ and I decided this was what our future held, snuggling time with Shay.  
If this were regular February I would have no guilt about my utter joy in being in my house. Not that we never left the house. We had a glorious walk this morning in this beautiful weather, but I feel like we need some weather suffering so we can fully embrace the good weather months.  
Don’t get me wrong. I am not looking for winter. I certainly don’t want snow to come and kill everything that is in blossom. The daffodils are abundant, the forsythia has popped and the tulip trees look like Holland on a branch. I just want the excuse to be a hermit, this coming from an uber extrovert.
Perhaps my introverted husband has rubbed off on me. Or more likely I have some bear DNA and actually need a little hibernation. I wish that my hibernation came with an extended nap, but that sounds incredibly too decadent.


Aging In Unison

Yesterday Carter was talking to me and she suddenly stopped and said, “Oh look, you have a Stacey London stripe.” For those of you who are not “What not to wear ” fans Stacey has a stripe of silver hair in her dark black hair. Since I don’t color my hair I told Carter that this must have been the first time she had really looked at me since I have had a greying temple for a while. “No, Mom, it must be the way the sunlight is hitting your hair. I like it.”
This morning Russ went downtown to try and get a haircut from his very popular barber Tony. He had tried earlier in the week but the wait to see Tony is always long. Today was no different except that since it is Saturday Russ had time to sit their with the brothers and the fathers and sons.
Tony is a friendly guy and Russ asked him if he had a good Valentine’s Day since Russ knew he had a new girlfriend. When Tony asked Russ about his Valentine’s Day he said that he had been in NYC so we had to celebrate it early.  
“It was our 25th Valentine’s and it will be our 25th anniversary this year,” Russ said.
“Wow, your silver anniversary, like your hair!”  
Russ can handle this banter from his favorite barber, but he made sure to tell me about it.

I guess that it is perfectly expected that the two of us will both have some silver hair for our silver anniversary. I don’t see either of us doing anything about it. I can’t think of anything better than aging in unison.


Professional Audience Member

My job as loud laugher and professional audience member for Durham Academy plays is done as a parent. Tonight I went to the winter musical, “She Love Me” where most of the actors were seniors who I have literally seen grow up. As a person with no musical talent myself I make a very appreciative audience. I am especially useful at comedy’s since I laugh loud and quickly, often starting the ripple effect of laughter throughout the theatre. Tonight at intermission I saw Thomas Benson in the lobby on crutches. He would have been on stage it it were not for his knee operation and I told him I missed him up there. He said he knew I was in the house because he could hear me in the thousand seat room. A dubious distinction.
Some of the actors have only been around since upper school but in the case of star, Lily Tendler I have watched her in productions from Kindergarten on up. I knew she was someone to keep an eye on when I created books for the school auction from the kindergarteners. I asked each child to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up and dictate a sentence about their dreams. Lily wrote that she “wanted to be on TV and in the movies because they made a lot of money.” She was the only five year old who even knew what money was then.
My favorite part of the show was when Lily and other female lead senior Ellie Dusek sang duets together. Ellie has the perfect musical voice that is able to blend with others. The show had many strong parts for boys and as always I loved Chris Villani. The ensemble cast was fun, but I wish we had more opportunities to have them on stage. I loved Liza Aldridge sitting on that boy’s lap and Libby Beirsach played the perfect December 24th shopper.
My job is done. Carter suggests that I could become a paid audience sitter, but plays in the future will not be the same when they are not cast with kids I have watched grow up and know so well.
Great job to the whole cast and crew on a very long and complicated production. The sets were beautiful, the music great and the show a success. Lily Tendler, I still like you best as a red head, although the brown wig was perfect.


Gratitude Tour Three


 

Today was my third visit to one of the Food Bank branches that are my gratitude tour to meet and personally thank every staff member. I had the pleasure of going to New Bern with Peter Werbicki, the CEO. I drove over to Raliegh early this morning to meet up with Peter. It was great that he still went even though he should have not come to work today as he is an immigrant. Peter hales from the U.K. and is the hardest working Food Bank CEO in America.  

If anyone want to know someone who is making America great, it is Peter, an immigrant.
New Bern is the newest of the Food Bank’s six locations. I have visited that branch about four or five years ago when it was first started because it has a big beautiful garden where they grow lots of produce to give to feeding agencies. It was nice to see how much the branch has grown in that time. They have increased their output over 900%.
Of course I went to see the important part of the operation, the people. They are the key to the success of the branch. Their commitment and dedication was evident. It made me very proud to get to spend time with them. A bonus of my visit was getting to present them with the plaque commemorating six years of no work place accidents.
The real highlight is getting the chance to talk to each individual and find out what they like about their job and to impress upon them how important they are to helping feed their neighbors. Looking someone in the eye, thanking them and telling them that you appreciate them is fun. I wish I had done this gratitude tour years ago. Next week I go to the Sand hills. After this tour is over I might have to stand on a street corner and give out hugs because I am going to need something to replace this gratitude tour.


Three Day GlassesĀ 


I am not an extreme sport enthusiast. I don’t do crazy things like jump out of planes wearing my reading glasses. I like to sit and needlepoint and play Mah Jongg. You would think that a new pair of glasses would last on a person of my sedentary nature for years. Not so my new Eyebobs readers. Three days was all the lasted before the fishing line holding the lens in place broke.
Now these are not readers from the Dollar store. They are expensive for readers. I called up the company and spoke with the person who answered the phone. “My three day old glasses have already broken.” This news was not unusual to her. In fact the indifference I met on the phone was shocking. No apology, no sorry for your trouble, no offer to send a new pair before they got mine back.  
It will be another week, at the least, before I will get the replacements and I hope they come with an apology. I also hope the new ones hold up longer than this pair did.  
I understand why a business does not want to send out a new free pair until they get the old one back, but a little sympathy for the trouble I have to go through would have been nice. Not so from Eyebobs, based in the nice state of Minneapolis. I thought they would be better being in the Midwest. Not so much.
Three days. Really.


The Mama of the Mama Bear is Sad

The game ended in a hard fought loss. The end of the high school career in basketball was over. Carter came to find me in the stands and sobbed in our hug. Her job as team Mama Bear was over. The sadness was overwhelming for her. She loves this team, she loves her job as captain, psychologist, and ad hoc coach. She is not the best player on the team, but she will miss this team profoundly. It was the best place for her to belong all these years.
As the Mama of this Mama Bear I am equally sad. I will miss this team of parents who sat vigilantly in the bleachers together for the many months of the longest sports season. I made promises to come back and watch the girls next year when Carter is off in Berlin.  
I just barley got to know the freshman parents. I am thrilled that the team has such promise for the years to come with these young girls. I know Carter will want me to report to her the progress the Young’s ones make and the success of the juniors, then seniors who will anchor the team next year.
Congratulations to Grace and Carter who are graduating. To Izzy and Erin who made all conference. To Imani and Claire who started. To Nicole whose threes were key. To Audrey, Morgan, Jenny, Brooke, and Christina who were always there in support of the team. You are a special group of girls. As the Mama of your Mama Bear I will always be looking out for you.
Thanks to Krista and Robert, the best coaches. You gave Carter a chance to blossom and I know the lessons she learned from you will be carried into all she does in the future. The world needs more Mama Bears.